Browser Round-Up

Lately I’ve been seeing little bits of news on browsers that I think could be helpful, but I haven’t found anything so interesting as to fill out a whole blog post. So, here’s a bunch of miscellaneous stuff on browsers.

Firefox Hits 25%
That’s right folks. One of every four people out there is surfing with the Fox. Frankly, that’s better than I thought it would ever get. I wouldn’t think most average computer users would know to dump their built-in browser, find Firefox on the web, download and install it. My faith in humanity is restored. Well, at least 25% of it.

On another note, I’m also a bit surprised IE 7 isn’t more popular than it is, being that they’re pushing it via Windows update and it comes with Vista. IE 6 still has it beat more than 3 to 1. I guess I still have to worry about transparency in my PNG’s. Sigh.

Test Web Sites with IE NetRenderer
One downer for web developers with IE 7 is it is an all-or-nothing proposition. You can either stick with IE 6 or upgrade to IE 7, but aside from some rather unstable hacks, you can’t run both. As a web developer that needs to test on both, that’s a problem.

The above linked site can render your public facing web page in any IE version from 5.5 to 7 and show you the result. That will keep you from skulking around your co-worker’s offices looking for the late-adopter still on IE 6 when testing your sites.

Safari Released on Windows (beta)
I think Steve Jobs surprised the macaletes at WWDC by announcing Safari was going to be released for Windows XP and Vista. I think a collective sigh of “huh?” rippled through the crowd, and I have to add my own “huh?” to the mix. I only know a small number of Mac users, but I don’t know any that use Safari. Safari is, well…..not very good. There are already a number of benchmarks debunking Jobs’ claim that it is faster than IE and Firefox, as well as some early security alerts (to be fair, it is in beta). Still, it will make it a lot cheaper than buying a Mac Book if you want to test your apps for Safari compliance. And if you are an uber-geek, check out this article and compare how Apple and Microsoft differ in text rendering philosophies, which you can now view first-hand in Safari on Windows. Jobs is a big typography nut.

Web Development Extensions for Firefox
I’ve been using Mozilla-based browsers since Mozilla was one big suite (now “Seamonkey“). I had a browser on my desktop called “Firebird” before a name conflict with the Firebird open source database caused the name to change to “Firefox”. Although I like the gecko engine and the browser in general, what I most like about Firefox is its extensibility. I’ve run across some other browsers I thought were as good as or better than Firefox (Opera 9.2 is awesome), but I can’t live without my extensions. Here are the extensions for web development that I can’t live without.

  • ColorZilla: Lets you pick out any color on a web page with an eye-dropper tool and copy the color (in hex/RGB/etc.) to the clipboard.
  • Firebug: This is extension is simply incredible as a development tool. I can't do it justice here. I may have to make a blog post on using it, because I can't live without it.
  • MeasureIt: Measure anything on the screen.
  • Web Developer: This is another great extension for web development. From outlining any type of elements, to viewing form and cookie details, this extension is a must have.